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Jackets coach won’t put Horton and Gaborik on same line

Jul 7, 2013, 9:25 AM EDT

Dallas Stars v Columbus Blue Jackets Getty Images

The one catch for Columbus signing Nathan Horton is that he’ll need shoulder surgery this summer so it’ll be a while before he officially suits up for the Blue Jackets.

When he does, however, don’t expect him to be on the same line with Marian Gaborik as Aaron Portzline of The Columbus Dispatch shares. Richards wants other teams to make a decision on who they send their best defensemen after.

“It makes them make a decision: ‘Who are we going to go after?’ ” Richards said. “If they have one shut-down (defensive) pair, that’s going to leave something a little more open for us, maybe.”

So how will he set up the lines? Young forward Cam Atkinson may have to slide to left wing to play alongside Horton. Brandon Dubinsky and either R.J. Umberger or Atkinson could wind up skating with Horton. Meanwhile, Gaborik will likely stay with Artem Anisimov while Umberger or Atkinson lands on their left side.

Sounds pretty good either way for the Eastern Conference-bound Jackets.

  1. snipedanglecelly13 - Jul 7, 2013 at 10:27 AM

    They still suck lol but they’re gonna be a little better than last year

    • girouxed - Jul 7, 2013 at 10:35 AM

      Bobrovsky, Gaborik, Horton.

      Along with a solid team… I dont think theyre going to suck

    • endusersolutions2013 - Jul 7, 2013 at 3:22 PM

      When you look at how they played the 2nd have of the season, the label no longer applies. Came withing a tiebreaker of making the playoffs – the mother of all 2ng guessing scenarios (if I hadn’t gotten beat by, made that bad pass, missed that open net…). No longer a team to play for an easy 2 points.

      They have a good chance of making the playoffs. But of course I don’t see them beating the Hawks any time soon;)

  2. killerpgh - Jul 7, 2013 at 10:34 AM

    Seems like a pretty easy decision to me on which player’s line I would put my top d pairing against when they are both in the lineup. Horton is a good player, but Gaborik has the more “game changing” ability of the 2.

    • amityvillefun - Jul 7, 2013 at 12:00 PM

      I disagree. Gaborik is flashier, no doubt. However, Horton defines “game changer” in the playoffs and in big games. He is a clutch player. Gaborik can be a little timid and not want to get his nose dirty. Horton generally doesn’t shy away from the big checks either which can be “game changers.”

      I know who I’d rather have come playoff time.

      • killerpgh - Jul 7, 2013 at 6:33 PM

        Gaborik has scored 30 or more goals 7 times in his career (and 40+ 3 times). Horton has broken the 30 goal mark once is his career. When the coach says he wants to split of Gaborik and Horton so other teams have to make a decision on who to use there top d pairing against I thinks it’s an easy decision to go against Gaborik’s line. The fact that Horton is a more physical player helps make that decision even easier. Why let my number one d pair take runs from a power forward when I can match him up with the less physical/more skilled player. Of course all this doesn’t mean anything until we found out who the lime mates are.

  3. 950003cups - Jul 7, 2013 at 10:51 AM

    BREAKING NEWS: you don’t win the cup in July. Come back in June.

    But at least they’ll finally be competitive this year and years to come. The BJax fans deserve it.

    • bardown66 - Jul 7, 2013 at 11:22 AM

      Nobody even said they’d win. i dont think they are as good as detroit, boston, pittsburgh, NYI, or the rangers with a new coach. they will be solid. i just cant see them matching up in a 7 game series against pittsburgh or boston in particular.

    • east96st - Jul 7, 2013 at 12:17 PM

      BREAKING NEWS: the only person who is talking about the Cup is you. At this point, winning just one playoff game would make this the greatest team in Jackets history. Don’t be an a** just because your favorite team doesn’t get an automatic win when they go into Columbus anymore. NO ONE in Columbus is expecting the Cup. All they want is a team that doesn’t quit and/or is completely inept. Fans have the right to go into Nationwide and see a competitive game. For the first time, in a very long time, the Jackets seemed poised to give them that.

  4. ethanmacleod1685 - Jul 7, 2013 at 11:29 AM

    IMO they still lack a franchise type player to lead them, some young guy needs to step up, sort of like Logan Couture did this year.

  5. 950003cups - Jul 7, 2013 at 11:36 AM

    Dubinsky can lead by example. Watched him play for years. He’s a lot better than most think.

  6. desertfan - Jul 7, 2013 at 11:40 AM

    They have no defense?????

    • 19to77 - Jul 7, 2013 at 12:45 PM

      No defense whose names you know, you mean. They actually have a solid D overall, especially if Murray shows improvement next year.

    • withseidelinn - Jul 7, 2013 at 12:52 PM

      Uhh Jack Johnson????

    • endusersolutions2013 - Jul 7, 2013 at 3:34 PM

      No defense? Actually they were effective defensively – 6th is GAA, 4th in save%, 11th on the PK. Where they struggled is offensively – 24th in GFA, 27th in SOG, seriously weak on the PP. The Horton signing was clearly indicated.

  7. dboldave - Jul 7, 2013 at 12:39 PM

    It wouldn’t surprise me to see Horton start the season strong and look great but he tends to disappear for stretches at a time and it’s frustrating to watch. Does Columbus have a playmaker that can set Horton up? He’s a pretty good finisher but he won’t change games on his own.

  8. endusersolutions2013 - Jul 7, 2013 at 3:36 PM

    Splitting the two makes sense, and that’s one thing that makes the Hawks so tough – Toews, Kane, Sharp, Hossa, Bickell, with pretty consistent scoring from the 3rd and 4th lines.

  9. hockeyflow33 - Jul 7, 2013 at 5:22 PM

    Horton isn’t a guy you gameplan against, Gaborik is.

  10. bildomatic - Jul 8, 2013 at 10:01 AM

    Horton had 22pts in 43 games last season… After having 32pts in 46 games the year before… His best season in Boston was 53pts in 80 games… I have a feeling Columbus is going to regret signing such a streaky player to such a long term deal especially given his concussion and shoulder issues. At times in Boston he had fans screaming “Where the heck is this guy!?” Then come playoffs he seemed to show up… Time will tell, but I just think the term and $$$ is too much for an inconsistent, injury prone guy.

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